Dowel Roller Kite — Worth the Effort
(Lake Shore, MD, USA)
I was really excited to build this kite. I used some of the suggested improvements. I built the kite using Tyvek cloth. I made both spars with a 6" bow. I went with the extra bow cause I am flying this kite on the Chesapeake Bay.
I attached the sail ties to the end of the aft spar and reduced the keel size. I attached the keel to the aft sail verses the vertical spar. I did this by gluing two pieces of cloth together and leaving the top split. I fed the keel through the slit and glued the two individual pieces to the sail. I ran a piece of red duct the full length of the kite verses the sticky tape. I put some extra pockets on the back for the vertical spar to pass through.
The first time I took the kite out, it went up immediately. Shortly after it flipped over and dived immediately into the only tree around. It took me about 30 minutes to get it down and I broke the front spar while doing it.
After some quick repairs I took it out a second time. This time the front spar snapped in half in about 20 seconds. The wood dowel quality here is sketchy at best. After replacing the spar again, we were back at the park.
Once again the kite flew, but did a nose dive into the ground. I noticed when it did this that the sail tie on one side was longer than the other, which is why I believe it was flipping over. I adjusted the sail ties and added a nickel at the back of the keel just to make sure.
On the fourth trip, the kite flew like a dream. The wind was about 6 mph and the kite took right off. It had good pull and was perfectly stable. I am really happy with the kite now and I get tons of comments when I fly it. Definitely worth the effort!